Making the most of your time away from the office is crucial to let you properly re-energize yourself, but only you can decide whether traveling or staying put is right for you.
Congrats! You managed to request your days off, delegate tasks and responsibilities and —most importantly—convince yourself that both your workload and your career will survive a few days away from the desk. No easy feat for a lawyer, as we’re notoriously reluctant to take time away from our work lives.
But now you may be faced with a new question: should you travel somewhere far, fun, exotic? Or do you opt to join the growing number of Americans choosing to “staycation? (“Staycation: a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.”)
Although you’ll often see staycations touted as a budget-friendly alternative to travel, staying local doesn’t need to be reserved for the frugal—and you don’t need to skimp on spending just because you’re in the neighborhood.
Staycations gained popularity in response to the growing crowds in airports and transportation, the stress of planning and packing, and the comparison between that stiff hotel bed and home sweet home.
Whichever you choose, both far-flung locales and your own front door have benefits to make the most of your days away. The choice is 100% up to you—based on your interests, your needs, and whether you’re leaning towards relaxation or stimulation this time around.
Choose a Staycation When…
1. You Want Comfort Above All
Let’s be honest, there’s few things more easy-to-be-in than our own homes (barring annoying roommates). When we’re stepping away from a lawyer’s long days and high-stress workload, the opportunity to just hang out in our pajamas can help get relaxation going. Staycations also have the added bonus of minimizing travel—and travel time. That means no packing lists, no cramped airplanes seats, and no waiting for the fun to begin. Just come home, slip off your suit jacket, and vacation has already begun. For lawyers on a tight schedule (and “emergency” work emails awaiting response), those added hours can go a long way.
2. You Want the Flexibility to Choose
Being at home gives you unbeatable flexibility, whether with your time, leisure, or money. Unlike a once-in-a-lifetime trip, staycations give you the choice to spend your day hitting up museums… or just catching up on Friends reruns, without the guilt of wasting your vacay. And without the necessary expenses of transport and rooming, your vacation budget is totally freed up for the activities you’ll enjoy— or the splurges you’ve been waiting for. Unlike a vacation, with its pressure to see all the sights, and the expenses of food and board, a staycation gives you the reins for recreation on your terms. No judgement allowed!
3. You Want to Balance
For many of us, traveling for vacation means taking time away from other things that matter—such as family obligations, personal goals, and social life. While the busy workweek may make it hard to find time to meet with college friends or have a long lunch with a family member, a staycation allows you to balance your personal relaxation with other treasured parts of your life. In fact, your staycation can give you time to sleep in late and indulge, and also to get started on that to-do list…and you’d be surprised by just how good it feels to finally get that deck repainted. The mix of productivity, relaxation, and reconnection with things that matter can help you return from your staycation feeling balanced and fulfilled (without any jetlag!).
Choose a Vacation When…
1. You Want to Get Away
Depending on your work habits, it can be difficult to feel like you left work unless you put significant mileage between you and your desk—and that can mean catching a flight. Traveling not only gives you the freedom of physical difference, but also allows you to free yourself from your entire routine. A break from the places, faces, and familiar sights can be a welcome change…and give you the space to shake yourself out of old habits and rediscover yourself without the constraints of familiarity.
2. You Want To Explore the World
That being said, there’s nothing like travel to broaden your view of the world. Whether it’s across an ocean or just over state lines, travel exposes us to new cultures, new people, and new experiences. The joy of experiencing the “new”—from food to trains to languages”—not only piques our interests, but stimulates our hearts and minds…leaving us more creative, empathetic, and inspired.
3. You Want an Experience to Remember
If you want the challenge and satisfaction of moving past your comfort zone, planning a trip is the right choice for you. Not only will you have to calculate all the logistics of a new location, but you’ll have to do your research to maximize your tourist activities. The payoff of all that effort? The satisfaction of a job well done, the experience of expanding your horizons, and memories to last a lifetime.
Remember: both vacation and staycations are not without their challenges. The seasoned traveler knows the exhaustion of a return flight all too well, and there’s nothing that will make you regret your staycation like your co-worker’s Bali pictures all over Instagram. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a vacation is more than a good time—it’s about recuperating, rejuvenating, and renewing yourself with the experiences you want and need so you can rejoin the working world refreshed and ready to go.